The Pentagon formally began on Sunday the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, where there are over 2,000 soldiers deployed as part of an international coalition against the Islamic State terror group.
“The order for Syria has been signed,” a Pentagon spokesman told EFE. He did not provide further details.
Citing an unnamed defense official, CNN reported the order was signed by Defense Secretary James Mattis , who will step down from his position at the end of the year.
Mattis announced his departure from the administration on Thursday, a day after US President Donald Trump proclaimed the “defeat” of the IS in Syria and announced the withdrawal of soldiers deployed in the country.
After Mattis’ resignation, the special US envoy to the coalition against the IS, Brett McGurk, also resigned in protest against the decision to pull US troops from Syria.
Both Mattis and McGurk have publicly expressed their concern about the way Washington has treated its allies in Syria.
In his resignation letter, Mattis strongly defended US alliances across the world and said Washington should treat its allies with respect and be “resolute and unambiguous” in its approach to the countries which challenge it, such as China and Russia.
Trump believes that he has fulfilled his objective in Syria by militarily defeating the jihadists and considers that other countries, such as Turkey, can finish the work that the US began.
According to the international coalition led by the US, the IS in Syria and Iraq only has 1 percent left of the territory they came to dominate in 2014, proclaiming it their caliphate.